Kiwanis Builds Centennial Playground at YMCA Camp Independence

April 14, 2015

Ribbon cutting to celebrate completion of playground for children with spina bifida

Volo, IL – On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the Illinois-Eastern Iowa (I-I) District of Kiwanis will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at YMCA Camp Independence to celebrate the completion of the “Gift of Play” playground.

Created by Dr. David McLone, Camp Independence is a state-of-the-art facility for campers with spina bifida and other neurological conditions. Campers have the opportunity to grow and gain independence in a safe and fun environment where they are encouraged to try new things, develop character and make new friends. Kiwanis, a longtime supporter of Camp Independence, donated the playground to give campers more opportunities to play, have fun and enjoy the outdoors.

“The ability to laugh and play is a gift that commemorates Kiwanis commitment to some special kids and their journey to independence,” says William S. Piper, Executive Director of the Illinois Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis - Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation. “The playground is also a culmination of Dr. McLone’s success in which we share.”

“The Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International is honored to work with the YMCA to provide a specially built playground as our Gift of Play to them in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the very first Kiwanis Club,” says James Dooley, 2014-2015 Illinois-Eastern Iowa Kiwanis Governor. The Kiwanis Centennial Tour will visit the following cities to celebrate Kiwanis’ 100th Anniversary and, in many cases, leave a legacy of service to children in the form of a special playground build: Seattle, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; Taichung, Taiwan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; St. Louis, Missouri; New York, New York; Volo, Illinois; Milan, Italy; Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; and Indianapolis, Indiana. 

“The YMCA congratulates Kiwanis on its 100th anniversary. The Y is honored and thankful to be selected as one of many organizations to take part in this worldwide celebration and receive a new playground. The Gift of Play at Camp Independence will help further our goal to encourage children with spina bifida to stay active and fit this summer,” says Richard Malone, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro Chicago.

Richard Malone; Kim Kiser, YMCA Executive Director, YMCA Camp Independence, and Vice President, YMCA of Metro Chicago; Dr. John Button, Kiwanis International President; James Dooley, I-I Kiwanis Governor; Dr. David McLone, Co-Medical Director, Spina Bifida Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; and William S. Piper, Executive Director of the Illinois Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis - Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation will participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Kiwanis has been a valued partner of Camp Independence since it was founded. We are grateful for their continued support in helping children with spina bifida learn the necessary life skills to live an independent life,” says Kim Kiser.

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About the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago: YMCA Camp Independence is part of the YMCA of Metro Chicago. The Y is focused on exercising the potential of each one of us to make healthy choices at every stage of our lives. We’re a nonprofit well-known for our 23 centers, camps, and health and fitness programs. But we’ve also moved wellness beyond the gym to prepare our next generation with the physical, academic and social skills they need to thrive. Our neighborhood base helps strengthen communities through programs offered at hundreds of sites citywide. This work promotes academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, fitness and healthy living. Come to the Y for personal fitness, sign up for a family program, or play a more active role in our community service mission. When you join the Y, you’re part of something big. To learn more, visit

About Kiwanis: Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14-18, Builders Club for students age 11-14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6-12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, dedicate annually more than 18 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 600,000 adult and youth members in 80 countries and geographic areas. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit